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extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
Sunday, 12 May 2013
I called him uncle, who was cousin --
distant and yet close.
A hero to me -- probably my first.
A footballer in peacetime.
Professional, who played in goal,
but now in uniform, he drove a tank.
I basked a lot
in his reflected glory
and the jealousy of friends.
He took me to the beach one time --
and took the ball along.
We played a bit. He tried
to teach me a few skills. Nearby,
two rivals building castles in the sand.
One, younger than the other, got my vote.
The older boy was furious,
and bombed and kicked his vier's castle
back into the sand. That done,
he stood upon his own and sang.
Loudly he sang, repetitively, to us all:
I'm the king of the castle,
I'm the king of the castle...
Over and over and louder and louder.
Finally, I ran up to our ball
and kicked it hard in his direction.
Here memory is wanting. Did I score
a direct hit? Or did I miss
and did he lose his balance as he ducked?
At any rate he fell, and I,
to the final strains of I'm
the king of the castle... added
Get down you dirty rascal!
I still am tempted to take down
those who are too triumphant when they win
and who delight in seeing their opponents,
not just beaten but destroyed. You see it
often in the football fan. Perhaps his team
came top. Their greatest rival relegated
and he crows who has been given bragging rights.
Written to the prompt at dVerse Poets (Poetics) where Mary suggests we consider something that we find tempting.